... 1. Can you please make the ADI-2/4 more powerful especially with regard to the headphone amp than the previous generation
- plugging my Aeons directly into the RME, with a little bit of EQ to correct the tonality (bump up the bass and tame the upper mids), I sometimes find myself maxing out the volume knob on some songs. One example would be Dire Straits's "Money for Nothing" from the 1985 album Brothers In Arms - the version in my lossless library is a rip from the original 1985 CD, where the mastering is punchy and not compressed like later remasters. Especially during that intro with Sting's uncredited vocals, I even find myself craving more power.
Are you sure you run ADI-2 with “Auto Reference Level” = ON, not limited to “Low Power” - do you see dBr, not straight dB, when dialing the Volume?
If yes, I suggest to overthink your listening behavior.
The levels you are using are obviously ear-damaging if applied more than a few minutes a day.
To set this into perspective I did measurements with my calibrated Bruel&Kjaer 4153 Artificial Ear and Sound Level Meter according to OSHA and NIOSH standards.
Fortunately I have the Dan Clark Audio Aeon 2 Noire, spec’ed 13 Ohm, 92 dB/1mW (the Aeon is: 13 Ohm 93 dB/1mW), and the original 1985 Dire Straits Brothers In Arms CD release.
• AEON 2 Noire connected single ended to
• RME ADI-2 Pro, at 0 dBr Volume (1) and
• no EQ, for better comparability (2),
• playing “Money For Nothing” 1985’s release version (3):
The song’s intro, before the first drum-hits, reads:
• 89 dB SPL LEQ A (LEQ is the time-accumulated noise dose).
• 110 dB SPL Peaks.
The main part of the song reads:
• 100 dB SPL LEQ A.
To prevent hearing loss no more than 15 min a day of this level is allowed, and only if the rest of the day your sound level is below 80 dB, NIOSH standard (4).
• 134 dB SPL Peaks , it’s a very dynamic master.
134 dB SPL is the level on a small bore pistol shooting range, which no-one would attend without hearing protection.
(1) ADI-2 has another +6 dB of Volume Dial reserve above 0 dBr, e.g. for very quiet songs.
(2) Some amount of bass-EQ wouldn’t completely change the picture, dBA doesn’t measure the bass-range.
(3) The 1985’s CD release of Brothers In Arms is indeed ca. 12 dB quieter - and more dynamic (!) than the 1996 Remaster that is commonly available in streaming.
“Money For Nothing”, complete, has an ITU / EBU R128 Loudness of -20.1 LUFS, at +1.0 dBTP (true peak).
Typical contemporary productions are 10-12 dB hotter.
(4) The Bruel&Kjaer 4153 Artificial Ear reads a bit soft from 2-5 kHz, so the real SPL figures at ones natural ear might well be 3-5 dB higher than the measurement.
This would, depending on your ear’s anatomy, bring the max. exposure time further down to ca. 1/2 of the mentioned 15 min!
My comfortable listening level for this album with Aeon 2 Noire is RME ADI-2 Pro’s Volume at -32 dBr, this is 68 dB A LEQ and still 102 dB SPL Peaks.
Song’s vocals sound slightly above the level of normal natural conversation then.